Living with Anxiety ~ Part 3
I chose to title this series “Living with Anxiety” because it is possible to live with it. I still have some bad days and the odd panic attack (read my tips on dealing with a panic attack here). But I am living! I live a full life and I know God made me just the way I am. This disease is part of being in a broken body in a broken world. One day He will return to make that all right, but for now, I’ve learned the importance of seeking support. And not just seeking any support, but seeking the RIGHT support!
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“Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, andRevelation 21:3-5
GodHimself will be among them, and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.”
And He who sits on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.”
I was ashamed and embarrassed for so long about what I was going through. I really believed there was something wrong with me. Looking back, I wish I had advocated for myself more. But, that’s what anxiety and depression do. A normal thought is not normal, it’s twisted and obscured.
As I said last week in my Living with Anxiety series “Jesus & Medication”, my first episode of depression was when I was in Bible School. I believe it all stemmed from my anxiety, but I did not get the help I needed. Mental health was thought to be a weakness. It wasn’t Jesus and medication, or Jesus and counseling; It was just Jesus. I tried so hard, I really did. My roommates were amazing, but they were in their early 20’s like me. They weren’t equipped to deal with someone going through what I was going through. They prayed for me a lot and I do believe that’s what helped me get through that year.
But, what I needed was some professional help whether that be a doctor or a counselor or whatever. Even a mentor who recognized what was going on. Maybe I wouldn’t have struggled for as long as I did if I had got help the first time around. But, I’m stubborn and I just plowed through it.
Seeking the Right Support
Obviously, at Bible School, I didn’t receive the right support that I needed at that time. It’s no one’s fault, I didn’t ask either. During my second major depressive episode 4 or 5 years later, I FINALLY got to the point where I knew I needed to ask for help. I was completely broke, so I couldn’t afford anything. Our church hosted a group once a week from an organization that provided counseling and guidance services to people who couldn’t afford it. I worked up the courage to finally stop in there one afternoon. I broke down in tears. The lady I met with was so kind and compassionate on me.
Unfortunately, she wasn’t one of the counselors who met with people on a regular basis. So, I got paired up with another lady there. This did not end up being the right fit for me at all! She basically told me I wasn’t eating and was throwing up all the time because my appetite was changing, as it does when you’re in your 20’s. I was feeling so anxious because I was making some major life decisions with where I was working. Once I figured that out, everything would be fine. It was far from fine.
The Right Fit
If someone is not listening to you or even validating the feelings you are having, it is not the right support. I felt like I had no other options, so I continued going to see her until I finally decided to move back home with my parents to BC to get some real help. I hadn’t told her as I moved in kind of a whirl wind, but I remember her phoning me the week I moved home to see if I was coming in that week and how I was doing. She was shocked that I decided to move back home, what about my boyfriend? What about my job? There’s so much I wish I had said to her, but I think at that moment she finally got how serious I had been in what I was going through.
The youth pastor at my parent’s church put us in touch with a lovely, amazing counselor when I got home. I didn’t want to go, I think my Mom even drove me there for my first appointment. It’s the best decision I’ve ever made (along with marrying my husband!) Finally, someone was listening to me and validating what I was going through. And she was a Christian and helped me walk through seeing that anxiety and depression is not a weakness in my faith, but a weakness in my body. If you aren’t 100% happy with your doctor or realtor or whatever, you get a second opinion, right? The same goes for counselors; find one that truly fits what you need to get healthy.
I am always here if you feel like you need to chat with someone! Please reach out if you are feeling overwhelmed, anxious or afraid. I am not a counselor, but I am more than willing to walk with you, cry with you and advocate for you. Please do not let things get too far. Your life is worth far more than that, you deserve to live a full life. Christ came so we can live life abundantly (John 10:10). You can contact me here through my about page, leave a comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I want to be part of your tribe! I want to be in your corner, your biggest cheerleader, your prayer warrior!